Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Our English Friends

We wrote before that two English partners would join the mission to Lui. Both are from the Blackmore Vale Deanery, in Salisbury Diocese (Church ofEngland). Anne Powell and Warren Ingham-Barrow blogged their experiences here. Do read their reflections!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Resuming at last

The past two weeks have been wonderful, challenging, heart-breaking, and many times just incredible fun. The second half of our trip found me quite sick, which is why I didn't post anything. At one point as I lay there with a fever, staring up at the tin roof, in misery, I thought "Well, you signed up for this!" Susan and Deb were terrific nurses, and I was tenderly ministered to by the rest of the team. It was an immense comfort and blessing to be cared for, as well as humbling. Sadly, my illness meant that I couldn't present the art supplies to the school myself, or give the bishop the card with our pledge of three bicycles, but Dan took over and did the honors in my stead. He was also a great chaplain, and led us through a reflection piece at the end of each day.

On Saturday Ev, Sam, Marc and I strung cord around the pillars in the cathedral along the side aisles to hang the children's pictures. There were about 190 of them drawn and painted by the children of the diocese. As we were putting them up, the dean came in and said, "You are making my cathedral beautiful!" Sunday worship was awesome, with great singing and drumming and our bishop delivering a wonderful sermon of hope. The pictures attracted great attention - and at least two were snitched before we gathered them up! I'm looking forward to reviewing them at a more leisurely pace.

I have always loved the first Sunday of Advent with its beautiful collect and it's special because it's the anniversary of my first Sunday at Trinity. I'd been writing a hymn for our relationship with Lui and the last lines came to me as I listened to the sermon two weeks ago. The Laro tree is the symbol of the Diocese of Lui. It's a big tree standing outside the cathedral and was the place where slaves were bought and sold. When Dr. Kenneth Fraser began his ministry there he deliberately chose to begin classes in Christianity under this tree, transforming it from a symbol of oppression and death to one of resurrection and life in Christ. The tune is Forest Green which we in the U.S. know as the alternate to "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and in England is the one which is most familiar.

An Advent hymn for the people of Lui and Missouri

The Advent of God's love is near
and fills the world with grace;
Across the mountains high and low,
in every realm and place;
Where hymns of joy in every tongue
sound forth in glorious voice,
the pathway of the Lord is clear,
the desert shall rejoice.

Then heart to heart and hand in hand,
beneath the Laro tree,
We meet as children of one God,
a sign of unity.
The Spirit of the living Christ
has joined our hearts as one;
The dawn of love now breaks the sky,
the kingdom has begun.

29 November 2009

Loosing weight

When the MAF airplane showed up at the Mundri Airstrip (the international airport!) on Thursday, Samuel, the pilot informed us that he had instructed MAF to notify us that our weight limit going out was only 10 kilograms each, instead of the 15 we had had coming in. Since we were all flying on the same plane (we had taken two planes in to get the extra 50 kgs of art supplies in to Lui), he was quite insistent on that limit. He used a spring scale to weigh all of our luggage and informed us that we were a total of 16 kgs above his limit. We quickly filled Marc's hard-sided cases with extra bibles (English), prayer books, a whole pharmacopia of extra drugs (anti-biotics, tylenol, and all the things travelers bring with them), books, clothes and things we were willing to leave behind. I gave my English bible and prayer book to Manyagugu to keep or give to whoever needed it. We quickly came up with 40 kgs to leave behind. When the pilot of a little plane like that tells you you need to travel with less stuff, you don't argue. Part of the lesson of the trip: just exactly what do we need, and what can we live without? The answer is surprising in a place like Lui.